Page 85 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 43

Basic HTML Version

1445. In the introduction to his work the author tells why and
how he undertook this task:
Daily I would meet with Christian scholars [who] used to
whip me with the lash of their eloquence, adducing texts
which they thought conclusive proofs. They it was who
spurred me on to find an answer; and among their books I
found one called a concordance of the Bible, wherein all the
words of Holy Writ are gathered together in a single table,
under their roots, and not one of them is missing . . . There
was no argument that I was not able to refute with the aid of
this book. Therefore I took it and brought it to my study
and resolved to translate i t . . . But I saw that translation into
our Hebrew tongue would be of no avail, because of the dif­
ferent meanings which the translator Jerome gave to nouns
and verbs in different places, in accordance with his under­
standing . . . therefore I turned away from the work of
translation . . . and preferred to devise a concordance in
our own language. I had discovered the system of him who
had devised it; and in order not to depart from his system,
and so that it may be easy to find every verse, whether in
Hebrew or in Latin, I have referred to each book of the
Scriptures in accordance with the chapters of the Gentiles,
and so we shall be able to find whatever we may seek with­
out trouble.27
Thus, Nathan divided the Hebrew text into chapters and
verses numbered exactly as in the Vulgate (the first time the He­
brew Bible had been so treated), and arranged the citations of his
concordance according to Arlotto’s Latin concordance.
The ornamented title page of the first printed edition, pub­
lished in 1523 by Daniel Bomberg in Venice, has the title
M e’ir
but a second title page after the introduction and a table
of the books of the Bible with their Hebrew numbering according
to the Vulgate, gives the title as
Ya’ir nativ
(involving a change of
only the first Hebrew letter). This is probably not a misprint but a
deliberate change, referring to a verse in Job 41:32 having the
similar meaning “it will light the path.”On that page, the author’s
27 Note 54, p. xxxiii.
28 .T'sn .rama Vx’n i rw r r i ...ttmtMKTnpaip K-ipin
.oia’Ji1?!? p iru pnx’